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Crime Prevention

Definition: Steps you can take to minimize the risk that your business may be the victim of either an internal or external crime

According to experts on crime prevention, for a crime to occur, three elements have to be present: ability, motivation and opportunity. Eliminate any one of these, and the crime will not occur. Here's how you can do that:

  • Be wary of people who don't appear to belong in or around your business. Ask them questions. If their answers are vague, unconvincing or suspicious, call the police.
  • Encourage employees to keep their personal possessions in sight at all times. Do not leave purses or briefcases unattended in public areas or unlocked offices anywhere. It only takes a matter of seconds for things to disappear.
  • Instruct everyone to lock office doors when they step out, even for a minute.
  • Install deadbolt locks on external doors. Burglars typically spend no more than a few minutes or even seconds attempting to break into a building. Sturdy, properly installed deadbolt locks on all external doors are a must.
  • Have a trustworthy locksmith rekey the locks on all new facilities as soon as you move into them.
  • Install outdoor floodlights to eliminate dark areas where criminals might hide. Make sure parking areas are well-lit.
  • Never leave the keys in company cars or other vehicles. Have a sign-in board where they can be picked up by authorized employees. Also, never leave car doors unlocked.

Internal crime is also an issue for some business owners. To help prevent embezzlement or employee theft in your business, keep an eye out for these 10 signs:

  • Unwillingness of employees to take vacation
  • Employees who refuse to delegate certain tasks
  • A lack of dual control for tasks involving cash
  • Ledgers and subledgers that don't balance
  • Financial statements that don't balance
  • Lack of audit trails
  • Regular complains from customers that inventory shipments aren't complete
  • Unwillingness of bookkeeper or accountant to share information
  • Erratic behavior by an employee
  • Unexpected bouncing of checks

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